Reuben Snake’s richly personal autobiography gives readers an insider’s view of the most significant events and developments affecting Indian America in modern times. As activist, educator, and political and spiritual leader, Reuben Snake was a potent force for political change, preservation of cultural traditions, and justice for indigenous peoples, as well as a strong supporter of spiritual commitment—which he regarded as the driving force behind his own work. Snake experienced the same challenges as many young Indians—schooling designed to strip Indian children of their native language and culture, racial discrimination, unemployment, homelessness, and alcoholism. With marriage and a growing dedication to the Native American Church, the direction of his life changed, and he quickly rose to leadership within the Winnebago community, the American Indian Movement, and other national and international organizations.
In this book, he speaks at length about the Native American Church, his role of “Roadman,” or leader, and the church’s synthesis of Indian spirituality with the teachings of Christ. Snake, who called himself “your humble serpent,” reflects on his experiences with humor, insight, and spiritual and practical wisdom. This remarkable autobiography was transmitted orally to Jay Fikes during the final month of Reuben Snake’s life. Reuben Snake was born in January, 1937, and died in June, 1993.